Our most gracious God gives us all the opportunity to turn to Him and follow His word that He has supplied for us. As the word shows us, if we love our God and follow and keep His commandments, there is saving grace for us. We can follow the steps taught us and be forgiven of all our past sins. Romans 6:3-12
Some of us at times, myself included, may struggle with forgiving ourselves. I look at where I am as a person, a Christian, and sometimes feel guilty about who I was and how I lived at times. I wasn't a bad person or a thug but I was not Godly. I was a moral person in a worldly standard but l lacked God in my life and did not live life at a biblical standard as God would have me do.
Now as a Christian sometimes I feel like I need to run back into my past and apologize for any hurtful or stupid things I may have done or said. I suppose I could try but that would not be very realistic. I think as Christians we must learn to look to the old man as something we won't return to and forgive ourselves as God did when we put on Christ in baptism. Live your life in such a way that by example you show others how Christ changed your life and what it can do for them. You can say you’re sorry, but that's not who you are now.
Remember that the old man died and you are born again, Romans 6:6-11. You have been forgiven and need to forgive yourself as you would others. I sometimes say I would like a do-over and I would do things differently or better, but there is only one chance for a do over in this life and that is when you truly give it all to God. Now that you live for Him reach back and take as many with you as you can. Many of those in the past will see the change in you and want to come along and some will not. Forgive others as you have been forgiven and learn to forgive yourself, we are not perfect. Are you laying aside everything from your past that is slowing you down, every sin and running the race set before you? If not, what's holding you back? Let the past go and be the past, we all have a race to run and other souls need us to run it. By the strength which God supplies.
It is a word that puts fear in everyone, and it is something that will affect all of us in some way in this lifetime. I have seen people fight and beat cancer. Also, I have seen people fight and lose the battle. What I do know is that the loved ones I had that lost that battle, won another because they were in Christ. What a hope that we have, to all be together again for eternity with God. We all have access to the same saving blood if we have faith and seek it out.
There is so much cancer in this world and it seems to keep getting worse. It affects all ages, young and old, no one is out of its reach. There has been much success in treatments over the years and it continues to get higher survival rates all the time. As with everything in this world below the heavens, there are no guarantees in this lifetime. There are some guarantees in the next one however, as we know. As terrible as cancer can be to the human body, there is something I think we should be more concerned over. That is the cancer of the soul.
We all, unfortunately, probably know and have a friend or family member that has found saving grace and then walked away from it. We may have trouble figuring out why or how anybody would choose to walk away from the saving grace they found in the Lord, but somehow they lost their faith. Unlike the many different treatments that are out there to treat cancer, there is only one cure for cancer of the soul. I have struggled to find the right words with those I know. How do we know what they need to hear from day to day? We let them know we love them and are here for them and that they need God. Also, that we are here to study or just talk and want to help them find their faith again. For without God there is no cure for cancer of the soul.
James 5:19-20 (My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one returns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins)
The family is such a great key in our Christian lives. It gives us the strength to go on and be thankful for all that we have. The family is there to help us through trying times in our lives. We receive joy, peace and love when we have those strong family ties. When I look at our church family here in Ripon, I see the very strong family ties that hold us all together. It is much more than just one family group, the whole church here is knitted together. What a joy it is to see one family group talking and sharing with another. No clicks, what a great joy to see that. What we see here is families that are caring and loving to all. That warmth is extended to all who enter the doors of this building. People come early and stay late, that's family.
There is a saying I would like to share with you, that is in my daughter’s house.
Plays and Prays
Forgives and Forgets
Laughs and Smiles
Believes and Trusts
Says “I’m Sorry”
“Just say amen to that"
Things are not the same as when I was young. People don't leave the key under the mat anymore. You wouldn't feel very safe at night if everyone had a key to your front door. So now we have electronic key pads to lock our front doors and garages. Only our closest friends and family may likely have the code to get in. Everyone wants to feel safe in an uncertain world. Where no one really knows what may happen tomorrow but we all do our best to plan for a long life, safe and happy. We can do our best with locks and alarms to protect the lives of the ones we love but there are no guarantees in this life for tomorrow.
James 4:14-15 (Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.")
Where should we look for our protection and security but to the Lord. We can have a promise of a happy tearless eternity. Or we can try to feel safe on our own in an uncertain world by locking our doors setting our alarms and arming ourselves. But in the end what do you have but death. 1 John 1:1-4 (What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.)
We all know where our safety and joy and happiness can be made complete. It's in Jesus Christ and His saving blood and the grace of our God where eternal life is. The Word is where the door is and the key is under the mat. If you seek out the door to salvation, you can have the key and be welcomed home.
In the song we sing, “He Lives,” the first statement is all about who we are. “ I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today.” We serve a Savior who has risen. There would be no point in being in a worship service to Him if He had not risen. We remember His death, burial and resurrection. If Jesus was still in the grave that Joseph of Arimathea gave to be the grave of Christ, (Matt 27: 57-60) that would be hopeless for us today, if Christ had not overcome the grave. But the good news is that our Lord, Jesus Christ did come out of that grave. Mark 16:6, “Do not be amazed, you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold. Here is the place where they laid Him.” People for 2000 years now have been celebrating that. We remember that each Lord’s Day and that is so important, because that is what our Lord told us to do. (Matt 26:26-29)
I do understand many never remember our Lord. Some once every year, some once a week. But what should I do as Christian? When we keep in mind the first verse of that song He lives, it should mean every day we remember and do the will of our God. It makes God sad when we are not pleasing to Him.
God the Father told His Son that He had all authority on heaven and earth. (Matt 28:18) That means we need to pay attention to what our Lord says each and every day that we are here on this earth.
So, as we remember our Savior, let us think about the third verse of this song, “Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing, Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King! The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find, None other is so loving, so good and kind.”
What a great privilege to serve the risen Savior!!
13397 West Ripon Road, Ripon CA 95366